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Building and sustaining a Partner Ecosystem

Kaustubh Patwardhan, Director I Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, Ashnik
Singapore, 12 Jun 2014

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We, at Ashnik take pride in our partner ecosystem across ASEAN. We have close to 18 well-functioning partners straddled across 6 countries. Why do we sell through a Partner ecosystem in ASEAN and why not direct, how do we maintain this well-woven network of partners? These are some of the questions I would like to answer in this article.

In the business of IT products and services, creation of highly valued total customer experience is very very important. It is a source of competitive differentiation. In a highly diverse, multicultural, multilingual and geographically dispersed region of ASEAN countries, we believe that a healthy, well-nurtured partner, reseller network can greatly enhance total customer experience and bring value-added services at customer’s doorsteps. The high-touch, consultative experience offers extensive advice, customization of offerings, frequent face-to-face interactions. As there are multiple partners to choose from in a region and typically they carry multiple complimentary products, customer gets the flexibility to have one-stop shop experience or have a piecemeal from several of them. It enables us to meet customer requirements and preferences in superior ways, but has also created challenges to maintain this ecosystem healthy and well-oiled.

It is imperative for us to develop working relationship with our partners that builds mutual self-interests and trust. With significant mutual self-interest, all our partners recognize the importance of each other’s contribution and coordinate efforts to better satisfy the requirements of customers. We have successfully cultivated partner value proposition by providing distinctive bundle of core products and services and by offering capacity-building programs, and incentives to all our partners.

There are few things that an organisation can do to build and sustain its partner network –
1) Aligning mutual self-interests and complimentary resources
There is always a threat of opportunism-self-interest with guile- against mutual self-interest. Various ways can achieve partner alignment under threat of opportunism:

a) Choosing trustworthy partners after due diligence
b) Providing incentives designed to avoid counterproductive behaviour
c) Closely monitoring partner firm activities
d) Understanding partner firm’s norms, culture and values associated with shared goals
e) Joint annual planning exercise

2) Training and coaching partners

3) Providing responsive Sales and Marketing Programs

4) Supporting partners on Pricing and Protecting deals

5) Furnishing technical support in pre-sales and delivery of projects

6) Strengthening interfirm trust, coordination and communication

– Kaustubh Patwardhan, Director I Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, Ashnik 

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